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Star Wars Sculptor Adds Weight to a Popular Snoke Theory


Star Wars sculptor Ivan Manzella reveals that Snoke was modeled after the late Peter Cushing, supporting a popular fan theory about the character.

The character designer and sculptor for Supreme Leader Snoke revealed information that lends credence to a popular fan theory.

According to Ivan Manzella, who designed and sculpted Snoke for Star Wars: The Force Awakens, the Supreme Leader was partially modeled after the late Peter Cushing, who played Grand Moff Tarkin in Star Wars: A New Hope. “JJ [Abrams] mentioned a Hammer ‘House of Horror’ doll. So I based him on Peter Cushing… when I did the maquette, there are elements in the cheekbone and profile,” Manzella said while appearing on the Force Material podcast. “It wasn’t meant to be Cushing, but he was my Hammer reference.”


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Following the release of Star Wars: The Force Awakens, fans were desperate for clues of Snoke’s backstory and a popular theory that took off at the time was that Snoke was Grand Moff Tarkin. Since Tarkin’s death wasn’t explicitly shown on screen in A New Hope, the theory posited that he could have escaped the Death Star and later became the villain of the sequel trilogy. Clearly, that was not the case, but Manzella’s comments are a fun addition to the trilogy’s early theories and Cushing being the reference for Snoke adds some extra weight to the speculation.

Other details that encouraged fans to look deeper included Tarkin’s military background, his experience with Darth Vader — which would have given him unique insight into Kylo Ren — and his obviously burnt and scarred body, which could have been a result of the Death Star’s destruction.

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On top of that, after the new trilogy of films concluded, The Star Wars Book included an entry on Snoke that gave details about the character’s canon background. The book expanded upon Snoke’s role as a figure created by Palpatine, saying, “Snoke has free will, but his actions and goals are still orchestrated by Sidious.”

While this fan theory didn’t fully pan out in the canon stories, other fan theories in the past have proven to be true, including a prequel theory that predicted Snoke’s story. When Star Wars: The Phantom Menace was released, fans were heavily invested in the identity of Senator Palpatine. At the time, fans speculated that Palpatine was a clone doing the Emperor’s bidding, inadvertently predicting Snoke’s storyline decades before it happened. Snoke’s actual storyline was so unpredictable not even the actor who played him, Andy Serkis, saw it coming.

It was recently announced that four new Star Wars books will be released that explores the Sith and Obi-Wan Kenobi, telling stories before and between the films.

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Source: Force Material, via The Direct

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